|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rainbow Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
June 17, 2008 - It's hard to feel sorry for spiders, bugs, and other small and disgusting creatures that find themselves in the dangerous situation of encroaching into the human realm. Though primarily harmless, they're not the most endearing species on the planet. Whether on purpose or by accident, these nasty beings find their way into our homes and, most frequently, are quickly dispatched beneath a boot, rolled-up magazine, or any other instrument at hand with squishing capabilities. If you've ever wondered what it might be like to experience the world from their point of view, you won't have much longer to wait for the opportunity. Wii owners will be getting a serious case of the creepy crawlies later this year.
Deadly Creatures, in development by Rainbow Studios, offers more than a mere glimpse into the world of several particularly unpleasant crawling critters. Players will embark on an adventure filled with danger and intrigue viewed from the perspective of a scorpion and a tarantula - neither of which is particularly cuddly. Creeping through numerous underground tunnels, human dwellings, and natural environments, the two arachnids will cross paths and claws as they wind along a strange plot that will throw them into the path of the most deadly creatures on earth: humans.
Employing an interesting storytelling mechanic, the tale begins with a large explosion at a gas station in the desert, and witnesses suggest the arachnids are involved in some capacity. From there, the game plays out as a flashback. Players will control the scorpion and the tarantula at different moments during their journey. While battling other creatures along the way, the main creatures will come across clues that tie into two guys seeking historic treasure in the desert, and different pieces of the story will unfold gradually.
Both playable critters have their own special abilities. The agile tarantula is ninja-like in its ability to maneuver quickly around opponents. It can jump, scale up walls, shoot webs to ensnare victims, pounce, and execute an instant-kill backstab from behind. Tarantula levels require stealth, and players will have more freedom to maneuver around the different areas and terrain. The scorpion is the tank of the two. Armed with a poisonous tail and deadly pincers, scorpion moves are heavily combat-oriented. Pincer attacks, stinger sweeps, digging, blocking, and a range of gruesome finishing moves will be at your disposal. Each arachnid will start out with basic abilities, and new moves will be unlocked as you progress through the game.
The unique control styles of both critters will make good use of the Wii's motion controls. The tarantula will have a variety of motion based moves and attacks executed with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but the creative use of webbing for combat and overcoming obstacles is one of the creature's more interesting abilities. Using the Wii Remote, you'll be able to point and shoot webs at enemies on the screen. Also, the tarantula can grapple and swing with the webbing Spider-Man style. With the scorpion, movement is primarily controlled with the Nunchuk, while tail attacks are handled with movements from the Wii Remote. The Z and B buttons control the left and right pincers respectively, and both controllers can be tilted up or down to initiate different combos and finishing moves. Some of the maneuvers seem complicated, and only time will tell how well they translate in the heat of battle. Controls could make or break the game, but it seems there will be plenty of options to contend with.
The bestiary in Deadly Creatures is not limited to a few basic critters. Meager offerings such as pill bugs and crickets will make for some quick snacking to restore health, while wolf spiders, scorpions, hornets, bombardier beetles, rats, and other undesirables will pose their own threat to players. Larger boss battles will also features tougher foes including a Gila monster, a vicious rattlesnake, and a hard-carapace horned lizard that shoots jets of blood from its eyes, among others.
Rainbow Studios has gone to great lengths to give the game a visceral, dark vibe that fits in well with the eerie underground passageways and disgusting crawling monsters players will come across on their journey. The heavily earth-toned locations range from damp subterranean passageways filled with root systems to the sun-scorched heat of the desert sands and even into the realm of man. In addition to atmospheric sounds and creepy mood music to fit with each environment, an orchestra of squishing, crunching, splattering, screeching, clattering, and other gritty sound effects permeate every encounter.
An unusual and compelling action-adventure awaits players when Deadly Creatures comes slithering, clattering, and screeching out of its deep in-development crevice and onto the Wii this fall. It may make your skin crawl, but this is one to watch out for.
CCC Staff Contributor